Tag Archives: parent

Why Children Of Narcissists Have Trouble Setting Goals

As children, we’re supposed to figure out what we want to do when we grow up & plan for it accordingly by the time we graduate high school.  Many plans change but at least most kids have an idea of what they want to do with their lives.

 

I didn’t.  I never could figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I didn’t even know if I wanted to get married or not, but I assumed I wouldn’t because my mother told me no man would ever want me.  I’ve kind of fallen into things rather than having a plan to get there my entire life.

 

I’ve thought this was strange since it seemed to me everyone else I knew growing up had some goals.  They knew if they wanted to get married, have kids, travel the world, go to college, & what kind of career they wanted.

 

Recently I realized something.  I believe this is because when you grow up with a narcissistic parent (or two), you learn early on that you’re wrong about anything & everything.  What you think, feel, like, don’t like, want, believe, etc. is all wrong.  So, if you believe you’re wrong, how can you set any goals?  The goals will automatically be stupid, bad, wrong, etc. because you set them.  Why bother even trying to set goals that are going to be so bad?  It’s a waste of time.

 

Plus, many of us with narcissistic parents were told by that parent that they knew us better than we knew ourselves.  Believing this lie would also inhibit us from making goals because obviously we are too stupid to know what we should do & what we want to do.

 

Even realizing this, I still have trouble setting goals but am improving a bit at it.  I have learned I’m not the stupid, ugly, fat, horrible, useless person my mother told me I was growing up.  I have also learned she has absolutely no clue who I am, so saying she knows me better than I know myself was an absolute lie.  I know me much better than she ever has & ever will.  Learning these things have helped me some in this area as well as healing my virtually destroyed self-esteem.  Realizing these truths about yourself can help you too.   Talk to supportive, loving & safe people.  Write in a journal.  Those things will help you to discover the real you, the good person that you are as well as what you want to do with your life.  They also will help you to see that maybe what your narcissistic parent said you wanted, liked or didn’t like was absolutely wrong, & enable you to figure out what makes you truly happy.

 

Dear Reader, if you have this same problem with setting goals, know you aren’t alone.  You aren’t crazy or stupid for not being able to do so.  It is simply one more side effect of growing up with a narcissistic parent.  Focus on healing your wounded self-esteem, & I believe goals will become more natural & easy to set in time.  Ask God for help, too- He will not let you down!

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Forgiveness After Narcissistic Abuse

One thing that every adult victim of narcissistic parents I have spoken with has struggled with is forgiving their parents.

So many people, particularly Christians, think that these victims need to forgive & forget.  They often quote Ephesians 4:26 which says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”  When victims struggle with forgiving & forgetting, they are shamed & even shunned by the very people who should support them, creating even more pain, guilt & shame in the victim.

I want to give you a new perspective on forgiveness that I think can help you today.

If you look at the definition of forgive, nowhere does it say you don’t feel anger.  According to Merriam-Webster.com, to forgive means:

1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON; forgive one’s enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of; forgive a debt

It’s possible to forgive someone while still feeling anger for them.  What I mean is when you forgive someone, you decide that they don’t owe you an apology or repentance. You won’t try to collect that “debt” from them.  You have released that person from paying you the debt that they owe you.  This is what I try to do any time someone mistreats me- give up expectations of an apology immediately.  That way, I have forgiven that person, as God wants me to do.  Yet, even forgiving quickly doesn’t mean I may not still feel some anger for that person for a while.  See what I mean?  You can forgive while still feeling anger.

I also firmly believe that releasing the anger you feel can be a process.  If the waitress makes a mistake on your order or a clerk is rude, those minor incidents are easy to forgive.  Big issues though, it takes time to work through the anger.   Processing anger from years of abuse takes a lot of time & work, especially if you learned early in life to ignore your anger which is the case with most children of narcissistic parents.

There is also the fact many people think to forgive your abusive parents is a one time thing.  You just forgive everything in one fell swoop & *poof* you’re not angry & you never will be angry again with them.  As anyone who has tried to forgive their narcissistic parents knows, that isn’t how it works.  You have to work through many different traumas individually, not lump them all together as one big trauma.

I honestly can say I have forgiven my narcissistic parents.   However, there are still some times I feel anger at them.

When a repressed memory comes back to mind, I feel anger at my parents about the incident.  When I have flashbacks, nightmares, the anxiety & depression get bad, I also feel  anger.  It’s their fault I have C-PTSD, after all.  Plus, when I told my father about having it, he ignored me then changed the subject.  Sometimes I also feel anger when others talk about what a great relationship they have with their parents.  I wanted that with mine, but wasn’t able to have it, because their narcissism was more important to them than me.

Do you think this means I haven’t forgiven my parents? If so, I’d have to respectfully disagree.  I have released my parents from any responsibility to apologize or make amends with me, which is the definition of forgiving.

Yes, there are times I still feel anger at them, as I admitted, & I think it’s very normal.  I also work through the anger & release it quickly.  That is the best I can do, & I know God honors that I am trying.  That’s all He asks of us, to try our best.

If someone tells you you’re wrong for not forgiving your narcissistic parents, Dear Reader, please remember what I said in this post.  If you don’t expect your parents to apologize or repay you for the trauma they inflicted on you, you already have forgiven them.  The more you heal, the less anger you’ll feel towards them.  It just takes some time.

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Parentalizing & The Shame It Causes

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Is Confronting Abusive Parents Biblical?

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Why People Believe Narcissists Instead Of Their Victims

Those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse all seem to wonder one thing- why does everyone believe the narcissist & not me?!

I certainly have.  I was in my late teens when my mother’s abuse hit its peak.  During that time, I noticed that her friends no longer were friendly & nice to me.  Women who once obviously liked me no longer would even make eye contact with me or speak to me.  It wasn’t hard to figure out my mother told them something awful about me.  What I wondered was why would they believe her lies when they knew me well.  They had to know I wasn’t the terrible teen my mother told me & others that I was.

I think I have some ideas as to why people believe narcissists in these situations.

The person who doesn’t believe a victim may be a narcissist.  I have noticed narcissists don’t believe people easily.  If someone says another person hurt them, unless there is undeniable evidence such as broken bones, many narcissists don’t believe that person.  Maybe they simply have no interest since it doesn’t center around them.

Narcissists are also phenomenal actors.  They can create any impression they wish.  If they want to appear kind when they aren’t, they can do that with no problem.  Highly intelligent even though they aren’t particularly smart?  They can pull that act off too.  Their chameleon like ways blend well with their superb ability to read people, which enables them to appear in the most appealing way possible to each individual person.

Many people look for the best in others, not the real in others.  People see the narcissist as a good person, as the narcissist wanted them to, so when a victim tells others of the terrible things the narcissist has done, the victim is not believed.  People don’t think someone as “good” as the narcissist could do such things.

There’s also the fact that narcissistic abuse is so outlandish, it’s hard to believe.  Looking back at things narcissists have done to me, even I have trouble believing they happened, & I was there.  People with no knowledge of narcissism can have trouble believing your stories of narcissistic abuse simply because of the bizarre nature.

Some people who don’t believe victims also come from backgrounds of abuse, yet have not faced their pain.  Instead, they live ready to shut down anything or anyone that may remind them of their pain or that threatens their flawed belief system that all is fine in their world.  I know a family like this.  The father was horribly abusive to the children growing up.  The mother stood by his side, & failed to protect them.  In fact, she instilled the belief in them that it was their place to protect her, not the other way around.  The adult children were very protective of their mother.  They treated her as if she was a young child, in need of constant care, coddling & protection.  No one was allowed to mistreat her or criticize her, even if they were telling the truth.  None of them have any tolerance for anyone setting boundaries with their parents.  They seem to believe that you tolerate anything & everything from your parents with a smile.  They also will believe any lies a narcissistic parent tells them about their child, not their child.

I also think there is another reason people believe narcissists over victims.  Those who aren’t facing their own abusive pasts feel bad when they see others who are.  Maybe it makes them feel ashamed for not being strong enough to do so or it simply reminds them of the pain they work so hard to ignore.  But, I do know for these people, it’s easier to believe a narcissist than to believe their victim & face their own pain.

When you come across someone who doesn’t believe you, then Dear Reader, remember, it has nothing to do with you.  The person you’re speaking with has their own issues.  Normal, mentally healthy people listen to a victim’s story & believe that person unless there is strong evidence that the victim is lying, not the other way around.

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Unconventional Grief

Most people assume there is only one type of grief, the grief that happens when someone you love dies, but there are other types as well.

People also can grieve when they move, get a divorce or lose a job.  There is also something known as anticipatory grief, which happens when you know someone is dying.  This is especially common in families where someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s due to how this terrible disease destroys a person’s personality before it destroys their body.

Unconventional grief is different.  It is grief that is triggered by unique circumstances.  I experienced it when learning about the many new limitations because of how damaged my brain was after surviving Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  It also can happen when someone is diagnosed with mental illness or when a loved one has a substance abuse problem.  Unconventional grief also can happen as a result of trauma & abuse.

When you grow up with a narcissistic parent or two, & you finally learn about narcissism, although it is a great thing, it can trigger grief.  Suddenly you realize that you aren’t the problem, which is certainly good news of course, but realizing what your parent was is difficult  & painful to accept.  It hurts that the one person who was supposed to love you unconditionally didn’t, & lacks the ability to do so.  You also realize how much your parent took from you, such as your childhood & self-esteem.  And, it suddenly hits you that there is no hope for your relationship.  Prior to learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, most people have some hope that one day their parent will realize what she did, apologize & change for the better.  Learning about NPD squelches that hope completely.  That is a tough pill to swallow!

Facing these ugly truths absolutely can cause a person to grieve, & it’s extremely painful.  It’s also difficult to understand because of the limited view of grief that most people have.  How can you grieve when the person in question is still alive?!  Well, it’s surprisingly easy to do actually.

When my father died in October, 2017, I didn’t cry.  I cry easily especially when losing someone I love, but I didn’t cry.   I barely have felt sad at all since he’s been gone.  No doubt any of my family that may be reading this thinks it’s because I’m a cold, evil person, but that isn’t the case.  It’s because I grieved him enough when he was alive that his death didn’t have a very profound effect on me.  And you know something?  Many other adult children of narcissistic parents I’ve spoken with have said that they felt the same exact thing when their parent died.

Unconventional grief can be incredibly difficult, but you can get through it.

Pray & pray often.  You will need the wisdom, guidance & comfort of God to get through this.

Don’t judge your emotions.  Accept them.  Examine them without judgement or criticism.  Feel them.  Pray, talk or write about them to cope with them.

Anger is an especially common part of this sort of grief.  If you feel a lot of anger, it’s normal!  I know, you probably grew up like most of us with narcissistic parents did, believing you aren’t allowed to be angry.  Stop that now!  Why are you angry?  Face it head on & deal with your feelings.  The pain will lose its power over you if you face it.

You also may start to remember only the good times.  They are good to remember, but don’t forget the bad as well.  Embrace the good & heal from the bad.

Write in a journal.  Writing is very cathartic, plus it will help you to have documentation.  You may even decide that you enjoy writing, & opt to start a blog or write a book.

Find online support groups & websites.  Learning that others are experiencing similar things to you is very helpful.

Don’t expect this grief to end entirely.  It will get better, but it may never end entirely. It’s like losing a loved one- you grieve most right after the person died, but even many years later, the pain is still there, just not as intense as it was at first.

If you’re experiencing unconventional grief, Dear Reader, know you aren’t alone.  You can survive this!  It will take hard work & won’t be easy, but you can do it!

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When Your Narcissistic Parent Dies

One year ago today my father passed away.  It’s been quite a year to say the least.  It’s also been a real learning experience.

When my narcissistic grandmother died in 2001, I gained a pretty good idea of what it’d be like to lose a narcissistic parent.  When she died, I felt such a relief that the abuse was finally truly over, & the normal guilt that comes with that feeling.  I went through a lot of anger & sadness things were as they were with her.  I was prepared for that when my father died.  I was NOT prepared for other things.

I was woefully unprepared for the constant inundation of attacks from flying monkeys who thought I should go see him & the incredibly cruel & stupid things they had to say in an attempt to force me to do their will.  I also was unprepared for their dogged determination to get around all the blocks I had in place (on social media, blocking emails, phone numbers, etc).  When they continued their harassment, I was stunned & frustrated that I couldn’t seem to get rid of these monsters no matter what I did.

I also didn’t expect to end up in a state of shock that lasted for months because of the flying monkeys, or that the shock would prevent me from experiencing any grief over losing my father.

I was also unprepared for the incredibly strong & constant need to pray for my father’s salvation at that time.  I’d been praying for him for some time, but his final few weeks, I felt I had to pray often & hard about it & ask friends to pray with me.  Thankfully, God answered those prayers, & I shared that story here: Some Recent Miracles That I Believe Will Encourage You

I also didn’t realize the lack of support that I would have.  Truthfully, I’m only very close to a few people, but I do have a larger group of friends who I’m simply not as close to.  In theory, I should’ve been surrounded by support at that time, but I really wasn’t.  Those closest to me checked on me often, but those who aren’t as close to me didn’t.  Only a couple even offered any sympathy when my father died.  Yet, when my father in-law died last June, many of those same people offered their condolences to my husband, even ones who don’t know or barely know him.  When this happened, it made me mad.  I felt hurt.  Why was his father’s death worthy of sympathy but not mine?!  I finally realized.. it’s because they didn’t know what to say or do.  They weren’t being hateful, it wasn’t that they didn’t care.  They simply didn’t know what to say.  Most people will avoid a situation rather than admit they don’t know what to say.

The reason I’m telling you these things, Dear Reader, is that if you’re facing the death of your narcissistic parent, you may experience similar things to me.  The experiences I mentioned are very common among adult children of narcissistic parents.  You need to be prepared for these things as best you can be.

I wrote a book about my experiences entitled, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies”.  If you’re interested, it’s available on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com 

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Backlash After Going Low Or No Contact

When the adult child of a narcissist decides to go low or no contact with the abusive parents, people are often surprised.  Narcissistic parents do their best to create an image of a happy, functional family to outsiders, & many people believe this false image to be real.  They don’t realize how much serious thought & prayer went into the adult child’s decision.  Those people are shocked by the low or no contact decision.  They say things like,

  • “You were always such a good child!” (children of narcissistic parents are often incredibly obedient in order to please their parent or avoid abuse)
  • “You never said anything was wrong.”  (abused children rarely do- abuse is normal, & they don’t often realize it’s wrong.  Or, if they do know, to survive, they know they must keep the abuse a secret)
  • “Your mother/father never said one bad thing about you!” (abusers don’t show their abusive side to everyone- they hide it from those whose opinions they value.  Besides, if the abusive parent appears good to everyone, & the child claims this parent is abusive, people are more likely to believe the parent than the child if the child speaks out)

Other people react with guilt, urging the victim to continue the abusive relationship.  Often, these people came from abusive backgrounds themselves, & are in denial about it.  You facing the truth makes them feel bad for not doing the same, so often, people like this try to bring you down to their level.  They say things like,

  • “They did the best they could!”  (So?  Even on the highly unlikely chance the abuser didn’t realize they were being abusive, that doesn’t make the abuse less damaging)
  • “Your parents won’t be around forever!”  (True, but neither will anyone.  It’s entirely possible their child could die first, so why not tell the abusers this fact?  And, the Bible says you reap what you sow in Galatians 6:7-8.  People can’t abuse someone & expect that someone to tolerate it indefinitely.  Everyone has their limits)
  • “Your parents gave you everything!”  (providing food, clothing & shelter is the job of parents.  They may have done these things, maybe even spoiled their child with “stuff”, but that doesn’t make them parents of the year.  It also doesn’t mean their child owes them for doing what a parent should do for their child.)
  • Some people refuse to discuss the topic with the victim because they have chosen the side of the parent.  They often make their displeasure with the victim obvious in snide comments or disdainful looks rather than using their words.

These things can hurt a victim by further invalidating or not believing their pain.  These types of responses also send the victim the message that she isn’t important, only the narcissistic parent is.

Dear Reader, if this is your situation, I’m sure you’re hurting.  I’ve heard similar comments & know first hand how painful they are.  Know you aren’t alone!  There are so many of us who understand!  This may be a good time to reach out to other survivors of narcissistic abuse.  There are online support forums (I have one on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/ ).  There are also so many informative websites & blogs available.

When faced with these conversations, it’s best for you to simply walk away.  People who blindly defend a narcissist most likely never going to see the light about what she is really like.  Defending yourself will only lead to frustration for you.  Tell the person you don’t want to discuss the matter, & change the subject.  If the person continues to force their opinion on you, walk away.

Know that you don’t have to tolerate any abuse from anyone.  Invalidating & dismissing a victim’s pain is abuse!  You have every right to protect yourself from it!  You don’t need people who treat you this way in your life, & are well within your rights to cut them out of your life if you feel it’s the right thing to do.

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Simple Ways To Set Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents

As I’ve said many times, my heart goes out to those in the position of being unable or unwilling to go no contact with their narcissistic parents.  You’re in a tough, tough place, & I understand since I’ve been there.  I want to help you if I can, & that is what today’s post is about.

There are some small, easy ways you can set boundaries with your narcissistic parent while not eliminating them from your life entirely.

For starters, reduce the amount of time you spend with your narcissistic parent.  Don’t visit or have your parent visit you as often.  Stop taking their calls every time they call.  Ask yourself if you feel up to dealing with your parent, & if not, don’t take that call or visit.

When you must visit or speak with your parent on the phone, set a time limit.  Don’t allow your narcissistic parent to waste half your day when that is so hard on you!  Set a limit, then say “I have to go” & go.

Also if you visit your narcissistic parent, have a way out.  Plan something to do so you only have a limited time to spend with your parent.  If you can’t think of something, say you just remembered something you have to take care of & go.  It’s not a lie- you remembered you have to take care of yourself!

Remember to keep the conversation away from you.  Your love life, in-laws, job, troubles & even your mental & physical health should be off the table for topics to discuss with your narcissistic parent.  Giving any narcissist personal information is just asking for trouble such as criticism & unasked for, useless advice.  Change the subject if your parent wants or demands to know something personal about you.  If all else fails, ask your parent about something that matters to her.  Chances are excellent she’ll drop the matter at the opportunity to talk about herself.

If you’re dependent even slightly on your narcissistic parent financially, find ways to put an end to it.  Narcissists love controlling their adult children with money, so remove that tool if at all possible.  If not, then at least find ways to reduce the amount.

If you have pets or kids, have strict boundaries in place.  It is your job to protect them & that includes from abusive & narcissistic parents.

When it’s time to set boundaries with your parent, remain calm.  Show no emotion, simply state the facts.  Any signs you are upset will fuel your narcissistic parent’s behavior.  Stay calm, state your boundary & the consequence of your parent not respecting the boundary, then enforce it if necessary.

If you’re friends on social media, unfollow your narcissistic parent.  You will remain friends, but you won’t see her posts which can reduce stress.

If you must go somewhere with your narcissistic parent, drive separately.  That way, you are free to leave at any time if need be.  Also, cars are a great weapon for some narcissists.  There is no escape- you have to put up with whatever they do when you’re in a car together.   My mother loved having me trapped in her car, & used it to scream at me when I was a kid or belittle me as an adult.

Always remember the Gray Rock Method.  Think about what gives your narcissistic parent narcissistic supply, & refuse to provide it.  Basically, you need to be boring to her.  Don’t admire her.  Don’t praise her.  Don’t get angry at her so she can portray herself as the victim.  Don’t coddle her.  Don’t share anything personal about yourself that she could use against you or as fuel to spread lies about you.  Don’t empathize with her if someone has hurt her.  Show no real interest in her problems.  If she needs your assistance with something, do the bare minimum, don’t go above & beyond.  Gray Rock can be hard at first because every tiny thing can provide narcissistic supply, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Lastly, pray & pray often.  Ask God to help you cope with your narcissistic parent, to give you the right words to say, & to give you effective, creative ways to cope with her behavior.  He will NOT disappoint you!

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Changes Happening With My Website

I have recently changed my website domain registration & hosting to a new company.  It’s going through those changes as we speak.  From what I see, it may take about a week for things to change then possibly add in more time for me to learn the new website building software & get it back up & running.

 

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause!  It’s unavoidable, though- my last website host & domain registrar went out of business without telling its customers.  In order to make any changes to my site, I had to make a change.  I really think it’s for the best though- this new company has no limits on how big my site can be or how many visitors it has each month!  Pretty cool, really.. just the change that isn’t so cool.

 

Anyway hopefully within the next 1-2 weeks, my site will be back & better than before at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com .  Thank you, Dear Reader, for your understanding & patience!  xoxo

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About Not Tolerating Abuse

Psalm 101:5 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

This verse has come to my attention quite a few times recently.  It find it VERY interesting.  Don’t you think that it describes some aspects of narcissistic behavior?  Narcissists have NO trouble slandering others.  They also have the haughty look & an arrogant heart.  What is even more interesting to me than the description of these behaviors is that God has no tolerance for them.

Yet, narcissists’ evil minions, also known as flying monkeys, love to tell victims of narcissistic abuse that we are being cruel, unloving, & even ungodly if we set boundaries with the narcissist in our lives.  They tell us invalidating & horrible things like, “You only get one set of parents!”  “He won’t be around forever yanno!”  “But that’s your MOTHER!!!” & more.  If the flying monkey claims to be a Christian, they also like to throw in their version of Scripture to prove that your behavior is terrible, such as you aren’t honoring your parents or “God hates divorce” if your narcissist is your spouse.

Awful statements like these can make a victim feel ashamed for not tolerating the abuse or even feel enough guilt to resume the dysfunctional, abusive relationship as it was & abandon all attempts of self protection.

This should not be!!!

If you have been subjected to the inane ramblings of flying monkeys, you need to know some things.

First, the people saying these things are abusive.  Invalidation is abusive.  Encouraging someone to return to an abusive situation is also abusive.  Attempting to force someone to do something is controlling & abusive.  You have every right to protect yourself from these awful people.

Second, I’ve come to realize that many flying monkeys are simply covert narcissists.  Narcissists only care about what is best for them, no one else.  Why would you take the advice of someone like that?!

Third, you also have the right to protect yourself from any abusive person, which includes your narcissistic parent(s) or significant other.  There is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse.  Anyone who thinks there is has some seriously warped beliefs, & obviously they know nothing of God or His ways.

Fourth, the Bible says in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (NIV)  One duty all Christians have is to become like God.  While we can’t be just like God, of course, we can love as He loves, & treat people as He does.  So, keeping this in mind, if God does not tolerate certain things, like narcissistic behavior, this means we shouldn’t tolerate it either.

And lastly, as I said, there is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse.  Doing so encourages a person to behave poorly.  It keeps them indulging in sinful behavior, hurting other people & even themselves.  How can this be good for anyone?!  It’s impossible!

On the opposite side of that coin, refusing to tolerate abuse is a good & loving thing to do.  It sets boundaries that give consequences for a person’s bad behavior.  If they wish to avoid those consequences, they will behave better.  (While no one can force another person to change, boundaries at least create circumstances that can make a person want to change. )  Helping a person to be the best version of themselves that they can be is a loving thing to do.

Refusing to tolerate abusive treatment also removes the opportunity for the abusive person to sin, at least where you’re concerned, & that is a good thing.  Tolerating abuse not only allows the abuser to sin but practically encourages it.  After all, why should the abuser stop being abusive when they don’t have any reason to?  And no, for narcissists, knowing they’re hurting someone else isn’t enough of a reason to stop abusing.

Dear Reader, the next time someone criticizes you for not tolerating abuse from the narcissists in your life, please remember what I’ve said.  There is absolutely nothing good about tolerating abuse for you or the abuser.  You have every right to protect yourself however you see fit, whether it’s by setting boundaries or even ending the relationship.  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!  xoxo

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Fixing Your Narcissistic Parents’ Problem Is A Bad Idea

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When Narcissistic Parents Expect Their Children To Be Their Parent

Narcissistic parents often expect their children to care for them rather than the normal course of events where parents care for their children.  They expect their children to meet their emotional needs, listen to their woes, make them happy when they are sad, fix their problems & more.  This is called parentification, parentalizing, emotional incest or covert incest.  (For simplicity sake, we’ll use parentification in this article.)

 

While parentification may not sound all that bad, its effect on children can be devastating.  Children feel responsible for their parents, which burdens them with the false belief they are responsible for everyone in their circle as adults.  That type of responsibility is incredibly stressful, no matter a person’s age, & as everyone knows, stress can cause a plethora of physical ailments.

 

It also robs children of their childhood.  Parentified children aren’t allowed to hang out with their friends.  They have their parents to take care of instead.  Basically these children are living an adult life in their childhood.

 

Parentified children also are depressed.  They often feel like failures for not being able to fix their parents’ problems, & narcissistic parents only make this feeling worse by blaming their children for not being able to accomplish the impossible.

 

These children often carry a great deal of anger inside, too, yet are unable to express it.  To be angry at their parents feels so wrong since their parents have made it their job to protect these parents.  Since expressing that anger is wrong, as far as the children are concerned, the anger gets stuffed inside & often manifests in very unhealthy ways.  It can come out as self destructive ways (such as addictions) or other destructive ways (becoming abusive towards other people).

 

Parentified children have a right to be angry.  They have been subjected to an incredibly cruel & insidious form of abuse by their own parents.  And, to make matters worse, unknowing people compound their pain.  They tell the children how lucky they are to have such a close relationship with their mother or father.  Some people compound the guilt & responsibility on their child by saying things like, “I don’t know what your mom would do without you.”  “You have to be strong for your dad- he needs you.”  These kinds of things only make a child feel ashamed for having any complaints about the relationship, extra responsible for the parent they shouldn’t be responsible for in the first place & angry that they have been forced into this position.

 

If this describes you, you are NOT alone!  Many people have been the victims of parentification, in particular children of narcissistic parents.  I’ve been through it myself & sympathize with your pain.  My parents came to me ever since i can remember with complaints about each other & even wanting me to fix their disagreements.  I still have moments when I think of it that I get angry.  And you know something?  It’s ok!  Being abused in any way, shape or form isn’t right.  It’s ok to be angry about the unfairness of abuse & being forced to live with the painful effects, such as PTSD or C-PTSD.

 

The best way I’ve learned to cope is to go to God, & tell Him about what I feel.  He truly understands & gives me a lot of comfort.  I also have friends who have been through the same thing & understand.  Sometimes one of the most helpful things for me is when they get angry over something I went through.  That can be so validating!  What my parents did wasn’t right, but, as a typical child of narcissists, I’ve always felt guilt for being angry with them.  Although it’s diminished a great deal, it’s still there a little.  Someone else getting angry about what my parents did helps me to understand that it’s ok to be angry about what they did & to realize just how wrong it was.

 

If you’re still in a relationship with your parent who indulges in parentification, you are not in a good place.  Until such time as you decide to end this relationship, if you decide to take that step, you will need to learn ways to cope.  Narcissists don’t accept boundaries like normal people, so you will need to get creative.  Whatever you do, do NOT tell your parent, “It hurts me when you talk about/do that.  Please don’t do it anymore.”  Statements like that are like throwing gas on a narcissist fire.  They will mock you for being oversensitive or do the behavior more often just to hurt you.

 

Instead, try changing the subject.  Since narcissists love to talk about themselves, you can use that to your advantage.  Ask your narcissistic parent something about herself.  How is her job going?  How did her last doctor visit go?  Has she talked to her favorite cousin lately?  It’s really not that hard to get a narcissist to talk about themselves.  Why not use it in your favor?

 

Suddenly have to go.  You just looked at the time & you have to go.  You don’t owe any explanations- you just have to go.

 

Ask if your parent has talked to someone else who has been through something similar about this situation.  After all, that person knows a lot more than you do & no doubt can help your parent more than you can!  Let them think that you’re only suggesting this because it helps them in some way, not you.

 

Whatever your situation with parentification, I truly wish you the best.  I pray you find effective ways to cope with your parent or are able to release any false guilt you may feel for no longer being in that situation.

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Compassion Fatigue

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Is Confronting Abusers Biblical?

Many people tell victims of narcissistic abuse things like “You need to be the bigger person & let it go.”  “You just don’t understand- she had a bad childhood!”  “You just need to forgive & forget.”  “The Bible says to honor your parents.  If you call your mother/father out on their behavior, God doesn’t approve of that!”  Such statements are often said for the following reasons…

 

  1. The person has come from an abusive past, & refuses to face the pain.  You talking about it reminds that person of his or her pain.  That person wants to shut you down so you stop making that person uncomfortable.
  2. The person knows the narcissist, & like all flying monkeys, is protective of that narcissist.  If the narcissist is related to this person, this is a very likely scenario.  Families are extremely protective of narcissists.  You can see a post I wrote on the topic here:  How Families Protect Their Narcissist

 

Whatever the reasons these ludicrous statements are said, they not only hurt, they confuse & frustrate victims.  As if it’s not bad enough we’ve been abused by the narcissist, now other people are being abusive as well by invalidating our pain as well as judging & criticizing us for speaking up to the abuser.

There is a verse in Isaiah that can shut down the argument that a victim shouldn’t speak up:

Isaiah 1:16-17  “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”  (NKJV) (emphasis added)

Notice the part in all caps.  “Rebuke the oppressor.”  God said that!  I just capitalized it for emphasis.  Pretty cool, huh?  According to God, we are not only allowed to confront someone about abusive behavior- we are supposed to do it.  Do you really think God would’ve included that in the Bible if He didn’t want people to do it?  Also notice- it doesn’t say, “Rebuke the oppressor, unless the oppressor is a parent.”  There are no exceptions in this verse!

Now I realize with narcissists, many times it’s easier to let them do something than confront them.  They love turning things around where the victim is the blame or telling others how mean & unreasonable a victim is for not tolerating their abuse.  It’s frustrating but such behaviors mean that sometimes we shouldn’t confront them.  But, even so, there are times that we know in our hearts we need to speak up to them no matter what they do.  During those times, you can rest assured you are doing the right thing.  It’s even in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah!

If anyone judges or criticizes you for speaking up to the narcissist in your life, although it can be painful, try to ignore it.   If God Himself has said we are to rebuke an oppressor, who is any mere human to tell you it’s the wrong thing to do?  You do what you know that God would have you to do, even if that includes confronting a narcissist, & you do it secure in the knowledge God approves of what you’re doing.

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How Growing Up With A Narcissistic Mother Affects You As An Adult

Growing up with a narcissistic mother is incredibly painful.  It causes a great deal of damage too, not only to one’s mental health but sometimes physical as well due to the intense, incredible stress of living with such a cruel person.

 

Unfortunately, the damage done is still with the child moving out of his or her mother’s home.  While some of that damage is obvious, such as a person having C-PTSD, not all of it is so easily identified.  There are many behaviors that tend to stick with a person even years after the abuse has ended.

 

Many victims accept the blame for everything.  Growing up with a narcissist, you learn early in life that everything is your fault.  If you had any doubts about that, your narcissistic mother would remind you of it.  By adulthood, victims have lost all doubts & know everything is their fault.

 

Closely related is apologizing for everything.  Children aren’t allowed to stand up for themselves, especially to their narcissistic mother.  In fact, we don’t even have any clue how to stand up for ourselves.  Instead, we learn to apologize, whether the problem is our fault or not.  This behavior carries over into adulthood.

 

Narcissistic parents often compare their children unfavorably to their siblings or cousins.  Those children grow up comparing themselves unfavorably to others just as their parent did rather than appreciating the differences in each person.

 

Children of narcissistic parents learned early in life that their purpose was to do for their parent.  Children aren’t even thought of as human to their narcissistic parents, but instead they are merely tools to be used as needed by that parent.  Knowing this means these children believe they aren’t important.  They prioritize everyone else over themselves.

 

Along these lines, children of narcissistic parents also refuse to ask for help.  They believe they are unworthy of help from anyone.  Many are also perfectionists & think they should be able to do things by themselves, without any assistance.

 

Chronic self doubt is another problem narcissistic mothers create in their children.  When you grow up hearing how you can’t do anything right, you’re a failure, you’re stupid or other cruel things, self doubt is normal.  It can make you doubt every single thing about yourself, even into adulthood.  Often it’s like there is a recording in the back of your mind when you try to do something that says those same awful things Mom used to say, & when you hear the recording, it transports you back to childhood, when you felt you were all of those things Mom said you were.

 

Difficulty making decisions happens often with adult children of narcissistic parents, too.  When you suffer with self doubt, decisions can be really difficult to make!  Even simple decisions like when your spouse asks where you want to go for dinner can be very challenging, because you feel like whatever you say will be wrong.

 

Over thinking is another common sign of having grown up with a narcissistic mother.  It stems from having to be “on alert” at all times, needing to know what Mom wanted or how to please her or what exactly she needed at any time in order to avoid a narcissistic rage.

 

The lack of ability to express emotions is common with adult children of narcissistic mothers.  So many narcissistic mothers did their best to stop their child from expressing any emotions, negative or positive.  My mother used to scold me for having “that Bailey temper” that I learned never to show any anger or even simple frustration.  It felt easier to stuff that emotion deep down than to be shamed.  My mother also complained that I didn’t look happy, yet if I was happy, if it had nothing to do with her, she would shame me for being happy. Many narcissistic mothers behave in a similar way with their children.

 

Do you behave in any of these ways, Dear Reader?  If so, please know you are NOT alone & you are NOT crazy.  I’ve experienced them all, & still do experience some of them.  I have found that praying really helps a great deal.  I ask God for help or to show me what I can do to change my behavior.  Simple?  Sure, but also very effective.

 

I also question things.  “Am I really to blame for this?  Why?”  “Should I apologize for that?  Why or why not?”  “Why am I comparing myself to that person instead of appreciating our uniqueness?”  “Am I really not smart enough/talented enough/etc. to do that?  What evidence do I have that shows me I’m not?”  “Is it really unreasonable of me to ask my husband for help when I don’t feel good?  Why?”  These simple questions make me think about the situation at hand more objectively & I can see that sometimes what I’m thinking is nothing more than some old, dysfunctional mindset.  Upon seeing that, I am able to act in a more appropriate way.  If you have trouble doing this, another approach could be to imagine a friend came to you with the problem you’re facing now.  What would you tell that friend?  Imagining a friend is confiding in you rather than thinking about yourself facing the problem can give you a very different perspective.

 

Although these issues are challenging, they can be dealt with with time & work.  Do it- you deserve to be rid of these dysfunctional habits!

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Narcissistic Grandparents

My maternal grandmother was a narcissist.  She neglected & abused my mother until she died.  However, my grandmother didn’t limit her abuse to only my mother.  She continued it with the next generation.

This scenario is very typical.  I’m sure it happens with male narcissists too, but it seems to be more common with female ones, so we will discuss female narcissists in this post.

Rather than narcissistic mothers becoming loving grandmothers, they simply become narcissistic grandmothers.  Sadly, many children of narcissistic mothers think the abuse they endured won’t happen to their children, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

Many people say that narcissists never change, but I disagree.  The  methods they use to abuse change & they often get even more vicious with their manipulation & criticisms.  If they have grandchildren, they are simply new targets for their abuse rather than happy additions to the family.

Narcissistic grandmothers have zero trouble criticizing their children to their grandchildren.   This not only can affect how your child sees you, but it also can affect your relationship with your child negatively & hurt your child.  When I was quite young, my grandmother would tell me how lazy my mother was as a child & what a terrible person she was.  It really hurt to hear her say those things, but she wouldn’t stop.

Not only will narcissistic grandmothers criticize their children to their grandchildren, but they also will criticize their children in front of their grandchildren. This hurts both the parent & child, & teaches the child that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat Mom &/or Dad like dirt.  After all, Grannie Dearest does it, so it must be ok.

Since narcissists believe they always know best & boundaries aren’t for them, a narcissistic mother will run roughshod over her child’s rules with her grandchildren.  If you don’t want your child to have a cookie nearer than an hour before dinner, you can guarantee that Grannie Dearest will give your child 18 cookies 10 minutes before dinner if she has the chance!  As if this isn’t frustrating enough in & of itself to have your own mother break your rules, this also teaches your child that it’s ok to disobey Mom & her rules mean nothing.

Much of the dysfunction you grew up with at the hand of your narcissistic mother will continue with your children.  If you had siblings, & all of you have children, your children will be treated much like you & your siblings were growing up.  There will be a golden child & a scapegoat, & whichever you were, you can count on your child being in that role.  In my mother’s family, her sister was the golden child & she was the scapegoat.  While my grandmother was abusive to all of her grandchildren to some degree, I believe she saved the worst of her abuse for me.

If you have children & a narcissistic grandmother, it is your job as their parent to protect the children.  Obviously, you don’t want her hurting your children like she’s hurt you!  I believe the best place to start protecting them is to pray.  Ask God for wisdom on how to handle the situation & how to best protect your children.

Also limit your children’s contact with your narcissistic mother as well as yours.  The less contact anyone has with a narcissist, the better.  Limited contact may evolve into no contact at some point.  The less time spent around a narcissist, the clearer your thinking becomes concerning that person.  You may realize no contact is best for you & your children when you hadn’t considered it an option before.

Make sure your children know that they can talk to you about anything & you won’t get mad.  Help them to feel safe knowing that if Grannie Dearest says or does something that upsets them, they can tell you about it, you won’t be upset with them, & you will handle the situation.

Do not leave your children alone with their narcissistic grandmother.  Make sure that you or your spouse or both of you are with them at all times in her presence.  Not only will this help your children feel safer, chances are good that your narcissistic mother will behave better.  Narcissists don’t like witnesses to their abuse, after all.

If you’re in this situation, I believe these tips can help you & your children.  I wish you the absolute best!  xoxo

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When No Contact Isn’t An Option

While no contact is often the best solution for a person with narcissistic parents, sometimes it isn’t an option or at least isn’t an option in the near future.  This post is for those of you in that position.

I understand how difficult it is to be in that situation.  I wanted to sever ties with my parents for over a year before the timing felt right.  I did learn some things during that time though, & I hope what I learned can help you.

I think it is a good idea first to get to the root of why no contact isn’t an option & eliminate the problem if at all possible.  Are you financially dependent?  Then try to find other means of supporting yourself.  Are you afraid of being alone?  It is better to be alone than to have abusive people in your life!  God can send you new friends who genuinely love you & become like family.  Are you afraid of what may happen if you go no contact such as relatives attacking you?  I know that can be pretty intimidating, but think about it- what can they really do to you?  If all they can do is tell you what a terrible person you are, that is something you can handle.  After all, didn’t your narcissistic parents tell you that often growing up?  My mother did.  Although it bothered me when the flying monkeys told me the same things, I realized their words only upset me because they reminded me of when my own mother said worse to me.  Once your own mother has called you horrific names, you develop a sort of armor to that verbal abuse.  Do you somehow know that the timing isn’t right like I did?  Then keep praying & follow God’s promptings.  When the timing is right, you will know it & He will enable you to follow through with going no contact.

If you are unable to go no contact at this time but want to, then try for low contact.  Limit your exposure to your narcissistic parent as much as possible.  Don’t be available every time they call.  Don’t visit or invite them to your home often.  Follow your heart & deal with them only when you feel you are able to.  I used to pray before answering my parents’ calls.  I’d ask God if I should take it or not & if I felt His answer was yes, I’d ask Him to guide my words & enable me to handle the situation in the best possible way.

When you must deal with your narcissistic parents, there are some helpful skills you can use.

Always remember that your parents are narcissists.  You aren’t dealing with normal, stable, healthy people.  You can’t expect them to behave as such.  Get rid of any expectations for them to behave normally or show love to you.

Also remember- with narcissists, everything boils down to how can they get narcissistic supply?  You’re best off depriving them of that supply, but in ways that can’t trigger their narcissistic rage.  To do this, the Gray Rock method is best.

I think of Gray Rock as becoming boring to narcissists.  What interests them?  Deprive them of that.  In other words, don’t tell them personal information.  In conversation, stick to superficial topics like the weather.  If you’re out of ideas for superficial conversation, ask the narcissist about herself.  They love talking about themselves, so you might as well make it work for you.  In difficult situations, you can ask the narcissist about herself & that should divert the attention off of you since most narcissists can’t resist an opportunity to talk about themselves.

Always stay calm, cool & collected around your narcissistic parent.  Narcissists see displays of emotions as weakness, which makes them attack their victim like a hungry lion attacks a weak gazelle.  In their presence, show no emotion.  Always be cold & emotionless.

Keep firm boundaries in place & offer no explanations for them.  You can say NO without explaining yourself further.  If your narcissistic parent demands to know why you say no, change the subject.  If your narcissistic parent hints at wanting to know, ignore the hints.

Keep learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It will help you to keep a healthy perspective of your situation.  It will help you not to take your parents’ abuse so personally & it will help you to figure out effective ways of dealing with them.

And, never forget to pray often & talk to your safe, supportive friends who understand your situation.  A good support network is extremely important in these situations.  Avoid people who tell you what to do.  People who don’t understand why you won’t go no contact or think no contact is wrong are not people you need to deal with, especially as you are trying to go no contact.

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Feeling Guilt Regarding Your Narcissistic Parent?

Recently I was thinking of something.  Maybe some of you remember last December, just before Christmas, my mother had her attorney/flying monkey send me a letter asking if I wanted my father’s car.  (here is the post if you missed it:   Coping When Narcissists Hit A New Low)

I thought about the letter the other day, & the wording of it all.  At that time, I felt a lot of guilt even though I knew with every fiber of my being I needed to maintain strict no contact with her.  It was such a difficult time!  I also thought about the fact my mother wanted my help with what she was dealing with after my father’s death.  She expected me to help her, after everything she’s done to me, & there has been a LOT!  Just throwing out a couple of examples…

 

  • My mother threw me into a wall when I was 19 hard enough to give me back pain for 10 years.  Why?  Because she started a fight with me & got mad when I eventually snapped & cussed at her.  She never apologized or even admitted to any of her part in that incident.  She also told people I faked the back pain so I could quit working because I was lazy.
  • My mother stole the savings bonds her mother left me when she died in 2001.  I had to go after her with proof of what the inheritance was worth & copies of the cashed bonds to get it back.  When she sent me a check, I saw she wrote in the memo line, “What you claim Grandma owes you.”
  • Most recently, in 2016.. my mother in-law died.  I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002 because she was so cruel to me.  My parents knew this.  When my parents learned of her passing, they called me & were mad I didn’t tell them in time to attend the funeral & “pay their respects.”  I was stunned that was an option.  I expected them to tell me what a great woman she was, even though they only spoke to her twice in their lives.  I ended up so hurt & angry that I cried & cussed at my parents, which is not my normal behavior.  The more upset I got, the more bored my mother acted.  She then tried getting me to feel sorry for her because she has vertigo.  It didn’t work.  We haven’t spoken since.

 

These are only a few examples.  I have a LOT more.

So anyway, I was thinking of these things & others, & it hit me.  My mother has a LOT of nerve thinking she is entitled to my help after not only doing all of these things, but also not once accepting any responsibility or apologizing for any of the abuse she’s inflicted on me.  She is still the same abusive monster she was when I was a kid.  Her tactics may be different now, but she is still out to hurt & control me  as much as possible if given the chance.  This quickly got rid of any guilt I felt regarding her.

My point (finally, I know.. sorry!) is this….

If you are struggling with feeling guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, for being no contact or feel like now that your parent is elderly & frail, you should take care of her even if you haven’t spoken in years, I really suggest doing what I did.

Consider your relationship with your narcissistic parent.  Think about the things your parent did to you.  Has your parent shown any signs of improving their behavior?  Has she admitted any wrongdoing at all?  If your parent is like most narcissists, you honestly can say no to those questions.  And, if you can say no to those questions, then you need to maintain distance to protect yourself & your mental health.

If you’re still feeling any guilt at this point, also remember- people reap what they sow.  Galatians 6:7 says:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ” (KJV)

A person who sows bad seeds will reap a bad harvest, period.  This means that an abusive parent will not be treated with love & kindness indefinitely as a good parent would be treated.  A person can only take so much before they pull away from their abuser, even if that abuser is their parent.  It’s the natural way of things.  You aren’t being petty, childish or any other awful thing people may say you are by putting distance between you & your narcissistic parent.  You’re simply a part of the normal system of reaping & sowing.

 

Lastly, you are NOT dishonoring your abusive parent with either low or no contact.  By maintaining low or no contact, you are removing the opportunity for your parent to sin.  Your parent can’t abuse you if you aren’t there.  You’re also encouraging her to improve her behavior by giving her consequences for her actions.  That is very honorable & loving!  Anyone who tells you that you’re not honoring your narcissistic parent or thinks it’s honorable to tolerate anything your parent dishes out truly does NOT know God or understand His word at all.

 

So remember, Dear Reader… you have no valid reasons to feel guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, but if you do feel guilty, remind yourself of what your parent has done to you like I did.

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Why Do Narcissists Have Children?

Have you ever wondered why people so incredibly self centered as narcissists have children?  I have.  God showed me a couple of reasons why my parents had me, but I’ve also wondered about narcissists in general, not only my parents, have kids.  I think I have figured out some of their “logic”, if you can call it that.

 

The narcissist who was abused or neglected as a child often has a root of shame, I believe, which is why they work so hard to convince people they are so wonderful, amazing, etc.  They’re also trying to convince themselves that they are so wonderful, amazing, etc.  By becoming a parent, this proves to themselves & everyone else that someone found them desirable.  Someone  took this big step with them, so they must be pretty fantastic, right?!

 

If the narcissist grew up feeling or being told she was abnormal somehow,  having a child can be a way to prove to the world that she is normal.  Having children is a perfectly normal step for many people, so if she can have a child, it proves to her & other people that she must be normal.

 

Children are also made to make their narcissistic parent look good, & we know all narcissists are obsessed with appearances.  If the narcissistic parent can mold their child into whatever she wants the child to be, that parent can then take credit for the child’s talents, successes, good looks or anything.  And, if this child is perfect, he or she will prove to the narcissistic parent that her abusive parents were wrong about her, that she really isn’t bad or unlovable as her parents told her she was.

 

This “perfect” child also can gain the narcissistic parent attention for being such a wonderful parent as to raise this perfect little human being.  People notice exceptional children, so as long as this child is perfect, the narcissistic parent will lap up all of the praise & admiration she receives for her amazing parenting skills.  What the narcissistic parent fails to realize is that no child is perfect, & expecting the child to be is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the child.  Trying to meet impossibly high standards creates a great amount of anxiety in anyone, but especially a child who just wants his or her parent’s love.

 

Often, if two narcissists have children together, one will take the main role in raising the child.  That parent gets to enjoy being in control in this capacity as well as looking self-sacrificing & martyr like by doing everything all by herself with virtually no help from the other parent.

 

Because children need their parents, this also feeds the narcissistic parent’s narcissism.  They rely on their child’s dependency because it makes them feel valuable & good to be needed.  They don’t take into consideration that at some point, that child is going to grow up & move on.  It’s as if that thought isn’t even a possibility to the narcissistic parent, so when that happens, they feel betrayed by their child.  How dare that child do something normal by growing up!  Doesn’t the child know that their role is to stay a child as long as the parent wants?!

 

Some parents also have children because they foolishly believe that will repair their relationship or force the partner to stay with them so they can raise the child together.  They mistakenly believe that if they have a child together, their partner will start treating them right or love them more, when nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Along those lines, the narcissist who was abused as a child may think that having a baby will fix her relationship with her abusive parents.  She may think no grandparent couldn’t love their grandchild, so if she gives her parents a grandchild, she finally may have her parents’ love.

 

There are countless reasons people want to start a family, but when it comes to narcissists, you can be sure all of their reasons will be unhealthy.  They will be entirely self-serving to the narcissist, & the child will suffer because of it.

 

 

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What’s Been Happening Lately

The past two weeks has been quite overwhelming.

Tuesday, June 12, my husband’s father fell in his home.  Hubby took him to the hospital, & they decided to keep him.  Upsetting of course, but not entirely unusual considering his age.  Saturday, June 16, my husband was told his father only had a couple of days left to live.  Friday, June 22, his father died.

Out of protecting my husband’s & his father’s privacy, I don’t want to reveal more details than that about the situation, so pardon me for being vague.

The situation got me thinking & I decided to share those thoughts.

First & foremost, this situation was just another reminder of how quickly life can change.  When hubby took his father to the emergency room, he had no clue that only 11 days later, his father would die.  Never take anyone you love for granted!  Enjoy every moment you can with them.  Never forget that things can change quickly, so tell them & show them often that you love them.  I make it a point to tell people I love them as the last thing before hanging up the phone or leaving their company.

Don’t forget to enjoy your life as much as possible.  Don’t settle for working a job you hate longer than absolutely necessary or continuing a relationship that is making you miserable.  Do things that make you happy & avoid things that don’t as much as humanly possible.  Travel, dance, write poetry, paint or participate in hobbies you love.  Do whatever benefits your peace & joy.  No one knows how long we have to live so why not enjoy every moment possible?

If you’re an animal lover, rely on your furbabies to help you in tough times.  Animals do love us & want to help if they can.  Just before my husband called to tell me about his dad, I saw two of my cats looking rather adorable & decided to take their pictures.  He called just as I took the last picture.  Later when I put the pictures on my computer, I noticed how sad my cats looked in those pictures, which is highly unusual for them.  I really believe they knew what was going on.  And, when my husband got home, they proved it.  The cats haven’t left him alone since he got home that night.  They’re doing their best to make him feel loved & comforted, & it’s a great help to him!

I also realized that once you’ve lost a narcissistic parent, death can be triggering.   This is the first person we’ve lost since my father died last October.  I feel like emotionally speaking, this situation has sent me back to last year.  It’s an emotional flashback of sorts, I think.  I assume this is happening because my father died not all that long ago & I haven’t been able to heal from that awful time yet.  I’m not telling my husband about this because he doesn’t need any further burdens right now of course, but my word, this is a challenge & one I never expected.

If you too have experienced the death of a narcissistic parent, Dear Reader, I think you need to know this kind of thing can happen to you too.  Even if the person who passes on is someone you aren’t particularly close to or not a person in a parental type role, I think it’s possible it can happen to you too, so just be prepared.

So, that’s what has been happening recently.  I figured I’d let everyone know & I hope the thoughts I had help you.  xoxo

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Why Children Of Narcissists Have Trouble Setting Goals

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Thoughts About Honoring Parents

I recently read an article about Father’s Day. In it, the author gave valid reasons why we should honor our fathers. It was a very good article, but one thing about it bothered me- the author didn’t mention how exactly to honor our fathers. I thought I would discuss it here. Actually, I’ll refer to honoring parents, not only fathers.

When you have good & loving parents, you don’t have to have strict boundaries. Your parents respect them naturally, so boundaries aren’t a concern. However, with narcissistic parents, you have to have & enforce very strict boundaries. This is very honorable, because these boundaries encourage your parent to behave in a healthier manner.

When Mother’s Day or Father’s Day comes around, if you have good parents, you can be a blessing to them, enjoy yourself & have zero fear of repercussions. You can spend time with them, give them nice cards & gifts. Narcissistic parents? No. Doing those things for your narcissistic parents basically tells them their abuse is OK. You’ll show them love no matter how awfully they treat you. This is why it’s important to give more minimal gifts & rather neutral cards- you are recognizing them as your parents but at the same time, you’re not praising them for their great parenting skills. You never want to reward bad behavior!

Even going no contact can be very honorable when it comes to abusive parents. While many people think that no contact is dishonorable, it really isn’t. By severing ties, you are removing the opportunity for an abusive person to abuse you & commit sinful acts. You are also encouraging that person to change their behavior for the better, because you won’t have them in your life if they are abusive. You’re also removing the temptation from yourself of going off on the abuser.

Dear Reader, there is never, EVER anything honorable about tolerating abuse, & that includes tolerating it from parents. If you still have doubts, read this…

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

This verse tells me that God has no patience for narcissism. Since as His children we are called to be like Him (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4), then we should have no patience for narcissism either, no matter who that narcissist is! If people disapprove of your refusal to tolerate your narcissistic parent’s abuse, well, that is their problem. Your job is to live a life that pleases God, not man…

Jeremiah 17:5

“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (KJV)

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Narcissists & Food

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Lies Narcissistic Parents Tell Their Children

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Is No Contact “Un-Christian”?

Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things.  One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving.  These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent.  It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely!  After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!

Hahaha.  No.

I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian.  I am well aware that I don’t.  But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect.  Far from it.  If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect.  No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.

Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different  from loving people’s way.  God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest.   Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior.  Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim.  However, it is not your place to force them to change.  It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.

 

But it’s certainly NOT easy!  Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior.  As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it.  Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love.  They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one.  People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.

I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love.  Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things.  However, love also must be tough sometimes.  God proves that!  He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior.  He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions.  As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV) 

Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone.  Many people have been, including me.  When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (AMP)  As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you.  He will reward you one day!  Those who said such cruel things however??  Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…

2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].”  (AMP)

 

Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)

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Narcissists & Pets

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What The Bible Says About Tolerating Narcissistic Abuse

I get a wonderful daily email from Bible Gateway- Psalms in a month.  This was in today’s email, & I couldn’t help but think of  narcissists.

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

Soooooo… if God Himself has absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior, why do people think victims should tolerate it? How is it being a “good Christian” to tolerate this sort of abuse?

 

It seems to me that people who believe those of us who have gone no contact or at the very least refuse to tolerate a narcissist’s abuse by giving them boundaries & consequences are putting people & their wishes above God.  What they think should happen is obviously more important to them than what the Bible says.  If the narcissist in question is family, they’re also putting the institution of family above God.

 

If you think that I’m just overreacting,  consider the following from the Gospel of Matthew…

 

Matthew 10:34-37  (MSG) (emphasis added)

“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.” 

 

Reread the part I underlined.  “Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.”  That’s pretty clear, don’t you think?  God should come first in your life, NOT other people, no matter who those people are!

 

For those of you who have been on the same boat as me with being condemned for being a bad person &/or bad Christian for not tolerating abuse from the narcissist in your life, please remember what the Bible has to say.  God doesn’t think you’re a terrible person because you refuse to allow some horrible person to abuse you.  He has called you to be like Him, not to please people, & if other people have a problem with that, well, that isn’t your problem- it’s theirs.

 

Ephesians 5:1-2 (AMP)

“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4  (AMP)

“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].”

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A Little About Two Special Moms In My Life

The last couple of days have been difficult for me.  Lots of flashbacks & anxiety have been happening.  When I said something to my husband about it the day before Mother’s day, he said “Mother’s Day is coming.. that has to be it!”  Honestly I don’t know if that’s my problem or not, it sure could be, but anyway….

 

Part of one of my recent flashbacks was about when I was learning to drive.  I told hubby that my ex mother in-law taught me more about driving (including driving a stick shift) than my parents did, yet both of my parents always took credit for teaching me how to drive even though they barely taught me anything.  He said, “I think you should give your ex mother in-law a shout out!  She did a lot of good things for you.”

 

Although my ex mother in-law died in 2010 & this post is going to publish a day after Mother’s Day, I agree.  I also thought about another mom figure in my life who was so special to me, so I’m giving her a shout out too.  I pray God allows them to know about this because they both deserve to know the big positive impacts they had on my life.

 

A very big thank you to my awesome ex mother in-law!!  I appreciate the many things you taught me like how to drive & especially how to knit.  I appreciate the encouragement you gave me when I was learning things & your faith that I could do these things.  I also appreciate the fun times together, like going to craft & thrift stores, & your help picking out my first sewing machine.  (Even though I still can’t sew, I appreciate a nice machine like that little beauty!)  I appreciate all the laughs & your fun sense of humor, especially since it was pretty twisted like my own.  I appreciate your love, support & lack of judgement.  I also appreciate you trying to protect me from my mother when we lived together.  I wasn’t used to anyone doing that & it was a very nice surprise.

 

Most of all, a big thank you for being a wonderful example of your faith & praying for me.

 

I’m sorry our relationship ended on a bad note & for the things I did wrong.  I still remember the good things often & am so grateful for them.  Thank you for everything, W.  You’re very loved & missed.  xoxo

 

My other mother figure was a dear friend I called my adopted mom.  We met on a crochet message board & clicked.  She was a wise, beautiful, gentle, loving, compassionate person with a powerful & inspiring faith.  When I had an argument with my folks or just a rough day, she was the one I wanted to talk to.  She always knew what to say to make me feel better.  She also didn’t sugarcoat things- if she believed I was wrong, she’d tell me.  She was free with her praise & kind words, but still told the truth even if it wasn’t pretty.  She was also the one who got me started reading about Antisocial Personality Disorder which led to me learning about narcissism.  We had many laughs together, mostly talking about our furkids who we both adored.  She was an inspiration & one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.  Her death in 2009 still hurts, but I know I’ll see her again one day.  Thank you for the years of friendship, love & laughs, K!  xoxo

 

Those of us with narcissistic mothers know that a good mother is a beautiful gift.  If you have a wonderful mother figure in your life, please don’t wait til it’s too late like I did- let her know how much you appreciate her now.  She’ll love to hear what you say & it’ll make you feel good to tell her just how special she is to you.

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse

I saw a meme on Facebook earlier today.  It said, “Write as though your mother will never read it.”  Considering what I write about, I liked it.  I also realize many of you who read my blog either currently write about the narcissistic abuse you’ve been through or are considering doing it.  This meme made me think of sharing a bit of encouragement for you today.

 

I know writing about the worst, most painful experiences in your life isn’t easy.  It’s hard writing out your experiences.  Seeing them in black & white makes them more real & can make the pain of them even worse.  There is something good about this pain though.  It’s also validating, seeing your traumatic experiences in writing.  You get the validation you never got.  You can’t minimize your suffering or deny that the experiences were horrific when you see them in writing.  Writing also can help you to process the trauma in a way speaking about it doesn’t.  While you’re writing to help others, you’re also helping yourself.

 

Writing about the abuse inflicted on you also can be intimidating.  What if your abuser reads it?  That thought can be utterly terrifying.  It was for me at first.  I worried what would happen if my parents learned I was writing about the abuse inflicted on me as a child?!  How would they respond?  Could I cope with it?  How?  Would they try to sue me for libel?  Would the flying monkeys attack me?  A million awful questions ran through my mind.  After time & prayer, I finally was able to ignore those questions.  I began to trust that God would not only allow me to write about whatever He wanted me to, but He also would enable me to deal with any fallout from my parents or flying monkeys.

 

You can trust Him to help you too.  You also can use some common sense ways to protect yourself.

 

  • You can use a pen name.  Many authors have written books under a pseudonym to protect their identity.  If you’re writing a blog rather than books, you can avoid using your name entirely.  You can name your blog something like, “Daughter Of A Narcissistic Mother” or, “My Ex Is A Narcissist”.  Many bloggers use this method of protecting their identity, & it seems to be quite effective.
  • You can change the names of people in your writing.  As an example, don’t refer to your narcissistic brother Steve by his real name.  Call him Paul instead.  You also could change the relationship.  You could say he’s your cousin rather than your brother.
  • Never give specifics in your writing.  Don’t mention your abuser’s address  obviously, but also don’t mention the name of the town they live in.
  • Always remember what libel is & write accordingly.  According to the Cornell Law School, libel is defined as follows: “Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.”
  • Stick to the facts only.  Tell your stories in a matter of fact way, leaving emotion out of it wherever possible.  When your emotions are vital to the story, you can say comments like, “When my abuser did _____, it made me feel _____.” If you come across angry in your writing or calling your abuser names, your writing could come across as libelous.  Sticking to a matter of fact way of telling your story avoids that.
  • If you’re considering writing your autobiography, you also can write it as a fictional story rather than non fiction.  Change some details around to make your fictional story a bit different than your real story.

 

Regarding your abuser & possibly flying monkeys reading your work, with any luck, they won’t.  I was fortunate in that my parents didn’t care to read my writing.  In fact, my mother told me it was nothing but a waste of time.  Not everyone is that fortunate, however.  If this happens, remember what I’ve said before about protecting yourself from these attacks.  Block the narcissist’s & flying monkeys’ access to you in every possible way.  Document their abuse in case you need it in the future.  Save screen shots, emails & texts to some type of cloud storage or email it to yourself rather than simply on your phone or computer so it’s protected against failing electronics.  If they create a smear campaign against you, don’t react to it.  Your reaction won’t change the minds of anyone who wants to believe it & the narcissist & flying monkeys will claim your reaction is proof that you are what they say you are.

 

If you feel led to write about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, it may not be easy but I can promise you that it will be very rewarding!  I wish you only the best!  xoxo

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